Easter Sunday morning started gray and windy, and the forecast was for rain. But we decided the wildflower season was too short to stay home, so we took the short drive to Edgewood County Park.
Right away, I was delighted to see wildflowers along the path. Close-up, they revealed themselves as Lasthenia californica (goldfields). A small flower in the sunflower family, goldfields really does paint the hills golden.
Walking on, we came across the first Mimulus aurantiacus (sticky monkeyflower) to the left of the path.
Soon after, the first true serpentine flowers, more goldfields, Layia platyglossa (tidy tips) and Delphinium (larkspur). I'm always amazed that such a stunning, deep blue flower can be found in the wild. Unfortunately, they are impossible to grow in the garden, but that makes it all the more exciting to see them in the wild.
We then went under the freeway underpass and started on the Serpentine trail. Serpentine soil, is, according to Wikipedia, "...derived from ultramafic bedrock give rise to unusual and sparse associations of edaphic (and often endemic) plants that are tolerant of extreme soil conditions, including:
- low calcium:magnesium ratio
- lack of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus and
- high concentrations of the heavy metals (more common in ultramafic rocks"
In most areas of California, the European annual grasses that came over with the settlers and their livestock have outcompeted the native wildflowers. The grasses have some trouble in areas with serpentine soil, and the wildflowers manage to keep a tenuous hold.
Even at Edgwood, some areas are green, not golden in spring. But more wildflowers survive than in many other areas.
We admired Lupinus albifrons (silver bush lupine).
Here a close-up of a smaller plant.
We enjoyed Wyethia angustifolia (mule's ear).
And we found the first small shooting star (probably dodecatheon clevlandii).
Then it started to rain, and I only turned on the camera for a few more pictures. But I couldn't resist the bright yellow, which was probably from Mimulus guttatus (seep monkey flower). Because Edgewood is such a fragile habitat, I resisted the temptation to stray off the path and find out what was blooming there in the middle of the meadow.
And one final closeup of Delphinium, before we headed home for a well-deserved cup of tea.
Anyone in the area might enjoy the guided wildflower walks the Friends of Edgewood will be holding for several more weeks.